KOLKATA: Bengal BJP functionary Rakesh Singh, identified as a key conspirator in a drugs case in which a party colleague was arrested here last week for possessing cocaine, was picked up by police from Galsi in East Burdwan district late Tuesday evening.
The arrest capped a day of dramatic developments that saw cops reaching Rakesh’s home in the afternoon and picking up his sons — 22-year-old Saheb Singh and 24-year-old Soham Singh — “for preventing public servants from doing their work” after a three-hour stand-off in a densely crowded Alipore neighbourhood.
Bengal BJP functionary Rakesh Singh was apprehended around 8pm during a check on National Highway 2, about 125km from Kolkata. Police said that there were central security forces in the car and he was trying to leave the state. Rakesh had told media outlets on Tuesday that he was “going to Delhi”.
Officials said his phone was switched off for most of the day but they managed to track him down from his cellphone signal when he switched it on for brief periods. Police had arrested Bengal BJP Yuva Morcha general secretary Pamela Goswami and a companion, Prabir De, last Friday for possessing 90gm of cocaine. Goswami told officers that Rakesh was the “key conspirator behind getting her arrested”, prompting cops to send him a notice on Monday asking him to join the probe.
Rakesh did not appear for questioning but moved the Calcutta high court on Tuesday seeking interim relief and protection from “political vendetta” and “imminent arrest”. Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya, however, dismissed the petition, saying: “It is rather premature to allege that the notice was issued with mala fide intention to malign the petitioner”.
Bengal advocate general Kishore Datta told the court that Rakesh was a “history sheeter” with 56 criminal cases, many of them registered decades before he joined BJP in 2018. Police officers along with colleagues from the detective department, the narcotics cell and the anti-rowdy squad, reached Rakesh’s Kolkata home around 2.30pm on Tuesday but were held off by his sons, who refused to let them enter even as central security personnel guarding the residence video-graphed the incident.
Rakesh’s 22-year-old son, Saheb Singh, led the heated exchange, first demanding a search warrant and then asking cops to break open the door if they wanted to enter the property. The stand-off continued till the HC turned down Rakesh’s plea and cops finally entered his residence around 5pm. Rakesh’s sons — Saheb and 24-year-old Soham Singh — were picked up a little after 8pm, around the same time Rakesh was nabbed from East Burdwan district.
Officials said Rakesh would be produced in court in Kolkata on Wednesday along with his two sons and the proceedings would follow the “legal route”. Rakesh told TOI before his arrest on Tuesday he had no relation with Goswami and had not met her in the last one year. “I am being framed by her,” he said, adding: “I will quit politics if they can produce any evidence.”